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mat of woolwool,
fiber made from the fleece of the domestic sheep. Composition and Characteristics

Wool consists of the cortex, overlapping scales (sharper and more protruding than those of hair) that may expand at their free edges causing fibers to intermesh; elasticum, the
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 formed by shearing a sheep in one continuous operation. The average fleece weighs from 5 to 10 lb (2.3–4.5 kg); in highbred wool sheep such as the American Merinos a ram's fleece may reach 30 lb (13.6 kg). The weight lost in cleansing the fleece of grease before sorting the wool is called shrinkage. On large sheep ranches hand shearing, once a competition skill, has largely been replaced by machine shearing. In heraldry a fleece is a whole, stuffed ram's fleece, complete with head and feet, suspended by a band around its middle. See also Golden FleeceGolden Fleece,
in Greek mythology, the magic fleece of the winged ram that saved Phrixus and Helle, the children of Nephele and Athamas, from the jealousy of Ino, Athamas' second wife.
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 and sheepsheep,
common name for many species of wild and domesticated ruminant mammals of the genus Ovis of the Bovidae, or cattle, family. The male is called a ram (if castrated it is a wether), the female is called a ewe, and their offspring is a lamb.
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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



wool removed from a sheep in an entire layer. Fleece consists of staples or locks of wool that are held close to one another by connecting wool threads in homogeneous wool and by the bunching of down at the bases of the locks in heterogeneous wool. The fleece is removed in the spring from fine-wooled, semifine-wooled, semicoarse-wooled, and coarse-wooled sheep. Autumn and lamb’s-wool shearings do not form a fleece but fall into separate pieces. The wool covering on sheep before shearing is also called fleece.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A fabric with a deep, soft, napped surface.
(vertebrate zoology)
Coat of wool shorn from sheep; usually taken off the animal in one piece.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


sheepskin or a fabric with soft pile, used as a lining for coats, etc.
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Akhtar (1996) collected data on (n=5260) lambing of Hissardale sheep and reported that overall yearly fleece weight in the flock averaged 3.06+-0.57 kg.
(1989) found average fleece weight as 4.99, 3.94 and 4.56 kg in different age groups for Tsigai sheep, Barina et al.
Environmental factors: The findings of the performance of season (Autumn, Spring) and Combined Fleece Weight (mean +-SE) of Mengali Sheep in different years (2005-2009) are presented in Table 3.
Variation in fleece weight in season indicated managemental as well as nutritional difference.
(1996), who analyzed the data for FW on Hissardale (n=3285) sheep and Thalli (n=6895) sheep and reported that, season had non-significant effect on fleece weight.
Table 1: Least mean square and Standard error (LMS+-SE) values of fleece weight (FW) of Mengali sheep
Multivariate analysis results obtained for estimates of direct additive genetic correlations, maternal additive genetic correlations, maternal permanent environmental correlations, phenotypic and environmental correlations between body weight at different ages and yearling fleece weight are given in Table 4.
The least square mean for yearling greasy fleece weight was lower than those reported for Angora goat by Yalcin et al.
The effects of non genetic factors indicated that performance records for body weight at different ages should be corrected for effects of sex, type of birth, age of dam, year of birth and age of kids at WW, 6MW and 9MW, but for yearling greasy fleece weight only correction for effect of year is needed.
Direct heritability estimate of greasy yearling fleece weight (0.16) obtained in this study are low but within the range of those reported in the previous research.
The direct additive genetic correlations between body weights in different ages and yearling fleece weight observed in this study were positive and varied from low to high.
Also, negative maternal genetic correlations were observed between live weight and yearling fleece weight in the later age, but positive and low maternal genetic correlations (0.05) of BW-YFW and medium maternal genetic correlations of WW-YFW (0.43) indicated the maternal effects influences on the early weights and development of follicles from the pre-natal period and maturation of follicles after birth to weaning.